French Open Dish: Nadal, Ivanovic Merciless
Nadal Brutalizes Verdasco at French Open
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal crushed fellow Spaniard Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco 6-1, 6-0, 6-2 Sunday to move into the quarterfinals at the French Open.
Nadal had not dropped a set yet against four straight left-handers, extending his career record at Roland Garros to 25-0.
“It wasn’t a good day for him,” Nadal said. “I wish all my have matches were like this one. Here we don’t want to have mercy for anybody.”
Other players into the quarterfinals Sunday were (3) Novak Djokovic (d. (18) Paul-Henri Mathieu), (19) Nicolas Almagro (d. Jeremy Chardy), and “The Importance of Being” Ernests Gulbis (d. Michael Llodra), all in straight sets.
“He was destroying me in practices,” Djokovic said of Gulbis, who he faces next. “I couldn’t win a match.”
On tap for Monday at Roland Garros is (1) Roger Federer vs. Frenchman Julien Benneteau, (28) Ivan Ljubicic vs. Frenchman Gael “Force” Monfils, (24) Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez vs. American Robby Ginepri, and (21) Radek “The Worm” Stepanek vs. (5) David Ferrer.
Ivanovic Bakes Double Bagel at French Open
With the absence of the retired world No. 1 Justine Henin, and the no-longer-dominant Williams sisters who lost during week one, the question is, who will be the new French Open champ? From Sunday’s results, look no further than 2007 runner-up and world No. 2 Ana Ivanovic, who blistered Petra Cetkovska 6-0, 6-0.
“If Ivanovic didn’t know this was going to be a difficult match, she knows now,” said jumping-the-gun Tennis Channel commentator Martina Navratilova after Cetkovska won the first two points of the match in impressive fashion. After that, it was all Ivanovic.
“It was much tougher than it probably looked,” Ivanovic said. “I had to work really hard, and I played almost without mistake today. She’s a good player, and she started first game well and she had a lot of chances afterwards in the second set. But I stepped up and I was really playing my game and really making really few unforced errors.”
Her Serbian compatriot and No. 3 seed Jelena Jankovic overcame arm pain to defeat No. 14 seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 7-6(3).
“I was struggling at the end but somehow I managed to win that tiebreak,” Jankovic said. “It was very difficult for me because she was returning a lot of balls. She was not making many mistakes and I wasn’t going for my shots. I was just guiding the ball and not executing anything. I needed to go for it even though I had pain…Basically the whole thing is a mess. But I have a day off now so I will see what can be done.”
Also into the quarterfinals were (10) Patty Schnyder (d. (27) Katarina Srebotnik), and 19-year-old Spanish sensation Carla Suarez Navarro, who pulled another upset with a win over No. 26 Flavia Pennetta.
“I thought the match would probably be a bit more difficult,” said Suarez Navarro, who qualified into the main draw.
Suarez Navarro will next face Jankovic.
“I feel really good,” Suarez Navarro said. “In the first set my muscles were a bit tight because I was a bit nervous, but there’s always pressure on a player, and I think I coped with it very well today. Before I come here every day I am trying to relax as much as possible, but I always get nervous when I get to the grounds.”
On court Monday at Roland Garros are (1) Maria Sharapova vs. (13) Dinara Safina in an all-Russian, (11) Vera Zvonareva vs. (7) Elena Dementieva in an all-Russian, (4) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. (16) Victoria Azarenka, and an all-unseeded in Petra Kvitova vs. Kaia Kanepi.
Rafael Nadal is now 25-0 at Roland Garros, and he’s won 112 of his last 114 matches on clay. Plus, he’s 38-0 in best of five matches on clay. Want more? Ok, he’s won 33 of his last 34 sets at the French Open…Carla Suarez Navarro hits a one handed backhand — quick, name another WTA player that also does who is under 24…Luis Horna is the last non-Slam champion to beat Roger Federer in a Grand Slam…Will the French men go 0-5 in the French Open round of 16? It’s up to Julien Benneteau and Gael Monfils…Five of the eight women playing Monday are from Russia…Ana Ivanovic has two career double bagels after today. Martina Sucha was her first victim at 2005 Warsaw…Rafael Nadal has not lost a set…Victoria Azarenka has only lost 6 games…Did Justine Henin pick a poor time to retire or what? She could win another French right now with a two-handed backhand…Only 4 of the Top 16 men reached the fourth round, which is the fewest at the French in the Open Era…Roger Federer has reached 16 straight Slam Sweet 16s…Hey, it’s Federer’s 227th straight week at No. 1….Quick, name the last Czech player to reach the French Open quarterfinals? Answer: 1992 Karel Novacek. Radek Stepanek will try to join him Monday…Fernando Gonzalez has only lost one career set in three meetings with Robby Ginepri. Ginepri has 9 career clay wins — four this week — while Gonzo has 134…We kid you not, Fernando Gonzalez has not lost a clay match this year. He’s a perfect 15-0. See for yourself…Sorry Monfils fans, Ivan Ljubicic has lost just one set to Gael in four matches…Forecast: Certainly could be some rain showers…Japan’s Akiko Morigami accused a national team coach of asking her to lose a doubles match, as a defeat would boost another player’s chances of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics, Jiji Press reported.
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